Friday, December 28, 2007

Tortellini with Tomato Basil Sauce Recipe

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
15 ounces chopped, canned tomatoes, undrained
12 ounces frozen cheese tortellini
1/4 cup chopped, fresh basil
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper

Cooking Instructions
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

2. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until well browned, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and their juices and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 5 to 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Meanwhile, cook the tortellini until al dente, about 5 minutes. Drain and transfer into a large bowl. Toss with the tomato sauce and basil. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.

4. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese and serve immediately.

This recipe serves: 4 | Preparation time: 10 minutes | Cooking time: 25 minutes

Tortellini with Tomato Basil Sauce Recipe: Recipe by FoodFit

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Swiss Chard and Caramelized Onion Lasagna

This lasagna is slightly unconventional, but not so much that traditional lasagna lovers won’t love it.

The caramelized onions have a delicious sweetness that is offset by the robustly flavored chard. 12 Servings.

Ingredient List
* 12 oz. dried or 1 lb. fresh lasagna noodles
* 4 Tbs. olive oil
* 1 clove garlic, minced
* 2 bunches (about 3 lbs.) red Swiss chard, stemmed, leaves coarsely chopped and blanched
* 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
* Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
* 4 1/2 cups thinly sliced onions
* 1 tsp. sugar
* 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
* 3 cups low-fat milk
* 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
* 1 1/4 cups plus 2 Tbs. grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese

1. In large pot of boiling salted water, cook noodles until just tender, about 8 minutes for dried and 1 minute for fresh. Drain and rinse under cold water. Spread noodles on clean kitchen towels and cover with plastic wrap.

2. In large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring often, 30 seconds. Add chard and cook, stirring often, until tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer chard to medium bowl and stir in ricotta cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

3. Wipe out skillet, heat remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring, until onions begin to brown all over, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle with sugar and stir. Cook, stirring, until deep amber in color, about 20 minutes more. Remove from heat and splash with vinegar. Set aside.

4. In medium saucepan, heat 2 1/2 cups milk over medium heat until steaming. Meanwhile, put flour in small bowl and whisk in remaining 1/2 cup milk until smooth; whisk into hot milk mixture and whisk constantly until sauce comes to a simmer and thickens. Continue cooking and stirring for 1 minute. Stir in Asiago or Parmesan cheese until melted and smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

5. Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly oil a 9 x 13-inch baking dish or coat with nonstick cooking spray. Coat bottom of prepared dish with 1/2 cup of sauce. Line bottom with a single layer of noodles. Spread half the chard over the noodles. Add another layer of noodles, arrange caramelized onions on top and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spread another 1/2 cup sauce over all. Add another layer of noodles, followed by the remaining chard mixture. Finish with remaining noodles and sauce. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan.

6. Lightly oil a large piece of aluminum foil or coat with nonstick cooking spray and use it to tightly cover dish. Bake lasagna for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake 10 to 15 minutes more, or until lightly browned and bubbling. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Swiss Chard and Caramelized Onion Lasagna [Vegetarian Times Issue: December 1, 1998 p.24]

Friday, November 30, 2007

Orzo Salad

8 ounces orzo
1 cup fresh, chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup pitted, halved olives
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh, chopped parsley
salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper

Cooking Instructions
1. Bring 1 gallon of well-salted water to a boil. Add the orzo and cook until al dente, about 7 minutes. Drain well and let cool.

2. Place the orzo in a large bowl. Add the tomatoes, olives, red wine vinegar and olive oil. Mix well. Add the fresh herbs. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

This recipe serves: 10
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes

Orzo Salad [Recipe Brought to you by FoodFit]

Baked Ziti

1/2 pound ziti pasta
4 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 cup onion, diced
1 1/2 cloves garlic, crushed
salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper
2 cups tomato sauce
1/3 cup fresh, chopped basil
1 cup fat-free ricotta cheese
2/3 cup grated, fat-free mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Cooking Instructions
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2. Bring 1/2 gallon of salted water to boil. Add the ziti and cook until al dente, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water.

3. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft and translucent, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds more, season with salt and pepper, and brown.

4. Add the tomato sauce and simmer for 5 minutes. Adjust the seasoning.

5. In a large mixing bowl, toss the ziti, sauce, basil and ricotta cheese together. Transfer to a casserole dish and sprinkle with the grated cheeses. (This can be made ahead and stored unbaked in the refrigerator up to 2 days, or it can be frozen.)

6. Bake until the cheese is bubbly and brown and the dish is thoroughly heated, about 15 to 20 minutes; bake longer if the dish has been refrigerated.

This recipe serves: 4
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes

Baked Ziti [Recipe Brought to you by FoodFit]

Spinach, Grapefruit and Almond Salad

For the vinaigrette:
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallots
1/3 cup olive oil
salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper

For the salad:
1/2 cup slivered almonds
4 cups spinach, cleaned and torn into bite-size pieces
1 grapefruit, peeled and sectioned

Cooking Instructions
For the vinaigrette:
1. Place all the ingredients in a container with a tight-fitting lid. Shake well.
2. Add the salt and pepper to taste.

For the salad:
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. Spread the almonds on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
3. Place the spinach in a bowl and toss with the vinaigrette.
4. Transfer the dressed spinach leaves to a serving plate. Arrange the grapefruit sections on top and sprinkle with the almonds.

This recipe serves: 6
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes

Spinach, Grapefruit and Almond Salad [Recipe Brought to you by FoodFit]

Penne with Summer Squash, Zucchini and Sugar Snap Peas

1 pound penne rigate
1 cup Basic ... Stock, or low-sodium canned ... stock
1/2 pound summer squash, seeded and julienned
1/2 pound zucchini, seeded and julienned
1/4 pound sugar snap peas
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper

Cooking Instructions
1. Bring 1/2 gallon of salted water to a boil. Add the penne and cook until al dente, about 7 to 9 minutes. Drain and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, bring the ... stock to a boil in a skillet large enough to hold the vegetables. Add the vegetables to the ... stock and steam, covered for about 3 to 4 minutes.

3. When the vegetables are just tender, add the cooked penne and the olive oil and toss until it is heated through.

4. Divide the pasta and vegetables evenly among 4 warmed plates or bowls. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and basil.

5. Adjust the salt and pepper to taste.

This recipe serves: 4
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes

Penne with Summer Squash, Zucchini and Sugar Snap Peas [Recipe Brought to you by FoodFit]

Rustic Italian Minestrone

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper
1 16-ounce can chopped tomatoes
5 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
1/4 pound fresh green beans, stemmed and cut into 1-inch lengths
1 16-ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
2 medium zucchini, quartered and chopped
1 cup raw, small, shell pasta
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Cooking Instructions
1. In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot and celery and cook for 5 minutes, or until the vegetables begin to soften. Add the garlic, season with salt and pepper and cook for 2 minutes more.

2. Add the tomatoes, vegetable or chicken broth and herbs, bring to a boil and turn down to a simmer.

3. Add beans and simmer for 2 minutes.

4. Add the zucchini and pasta and simmer for 10 minutes, or until all of the vegetables are tender and the pasta is al dente. Season with salt and pepper.

5. Serve the soup in large bowls with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.

This recipe serves: 8
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes

Rustic Italian Minestrone Recipe [Recipe Brought to you by FoodFit]

Pizza with Mushrooms and Three Colored Peppers

For the pizza dough:
3/4 cup warm water
1 tablespoon milk
4 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon olive oil, plus extra

For the topping:
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup fresh diced tomatoes, or use canned drained tomatoes
4 ounces grated mozzarella cheese
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 red pepper, cut into thin strips
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into rings
1 teaspoon dried oregano or chopped, fresh herbs
salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper
vinaigrette (optional)

Cooking Instructions
For the pizza dough:
1. Mix the water, milk and yeast together in a large bowl and stir with a wooden spoon.

2. Add the flour, salt and olive oil. Mix together with a wooden spoon until the dough is too thick and sticky to stir.

3. Spread a little flour on a work surface and place the dough on top of the flour. Knead the dough by pulling the dough from the sides and folding it in the middle. Keep kneading until the dough becomes a smooth ball. If it sticks to the table or to your hands, add a little more flour.

4. Rub a clean bowl with the olive oil and put the dough in it. Cover the bowl with a towel and put it in a warm place. Let the dough rise for about 1 1/2 hours, or until doubled in volume.

5. Punch the raised dough down with your fist. Turn the dough over, form it into a ball again, cover, and let rise for another hour.

6. Heat the oven to 450°F. Roll out the dough with a rolling pin or use your hands to pat the dough into a circle about 12" to 14" across and 1/4"-thick. Place the dough on an oiled baking sheet.

For the topping:
1. Sprinkle the garlic and spread the olive oil over the rolled dough, then spread the tomatoes on top. Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese, leaving the edge of the pizza free. Spray a skillet with non-stick cooking spray and place over medium -high heat. Sauté the peppers and mushrooms for 5 minutes. Place the vegetables on top of the cheese. If desired, drizzle a little vinaigrette on top of the pizza for added flavor.

2. Bake until nicely browned and crispy, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Cut the pizza into 8 slices.

This recipe serves: 4
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes

Pizza with Mushrooms and Three Colored Peppers [Recipe Brought to you by FoodFit]

Olive Tapenade Bruschetta

2 tablespoons pitted and finely chopped green or black olives
1 teaspoon capers
3 1/2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
12 French bread slices
2 cloves garlic

Cooking Instructions
1. Mash the olives, capers, 1/2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil and pepper together.

2. Toast the bread on both sides in a toaster oven, under the broiler or on the grill.

3. While the toasted slices are still warm, rub them with garlic and drizzle them with the remaining olive oil on one side.

4. Put a dab of the olive mixture on each slice of bruschetta.

This recipe makes: 12 pieces
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes

Olive Tapenade Bruschetta Recipe [Recipe Brought to you by FoodFit]

Four-Way Onion Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil
4 large Vidalia onions, or other sweet onions, sliced into 1/4" rounds
1 bunch scallions, white parts only, sliced into rounds
4 large shallots, chopped
2 cups chicken broth or beef broth
salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper
4 slices French bread, toasted
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup chopped chives

Cooking Instructions
1. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the onions, scallions and shallots. Cook slowly for a long time stirring occasionally until the onions are golden brown, about 1 hour. If the onions get too dry, add water to keep them from burning.

2. Add the broth and lower the heat to simmer for another 15 minutes.

3. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper.

4. Ladle the soup into 4 deep soup bowls and top with 1 slice of toast and a sprinkle of cheese. Garnish with fresh chives.

This recipe serves: 4
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Four-Way Onion Soup Recipe [Recipe Brought to you by FoodFit]

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Acorn Squash and Apple Soup Recipe

2 acorn squash, about 2 to 2 1/2 pounds total
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 tart apples, such as Granny Smith, peeled, cored and chopped
salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
2 tablespoons dry sherry or white wine
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth or stock
1/4 cup low fat sour cream

Cooking Instructions:
1. Cut the acorn squash in half and microwave until tender and easily pierced with a fork, about 15 minutes. Let cool.

2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, celery and apples, and cook until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.

3. Season lightly with salt and pepper, add the cumin and curry powder and cook for 2 more minutes.

4. Remove the seeds from the squash and discard them. Scoop the squash pulp out of the skin with a spoon and add it to the soup pot along with the sherry or white wine and cook for 2 or 3 minutes more.

5. Puree this mixture in a blender in batches, being careful not to overfill the blender and adding broth as needed. Strain the blended mixture through a colander to remove any remaining fiber or seeds.

6. Reheat the soup and add the remaining broth to adjust the consistency. Season with salt and pepper.

7. Serve the soup in warm bowls with a dollop of sour cream.

This recipe serves: 6 | Preparation time: 15 minutes | Cooking time: 30 minutes

Acorn Squash and Apple Soup Recipe [Recipe Brought to you by FoodFit]

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Matter Paneer Made Simple


1 large onion, quartered
1 1/2 Tbs. vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. whole brown mustard seeds
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 bay leaf
1 clove garlic, minced (about 1 tsp.)
1 15-oz. can tomato sauce
2 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. garam masala
1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. paprika
1 10-oz. pkg. frozen peas, thawed
3 Tbs. reduced-fat sour cream
1/4 tsp. sugar
1 8-oz. pkg. paneer, cut into 1-inch cubes

1. Purée onion in food processor.

2. Heat oil in pot over medium heat. Add mustard seeds, cumin and bay leaf. Cook 1 minute, or until fragrant.

3. Add onion and garlic, and sauté 5 to 7 minutes, or until browned. Stir in tomato sauce, coriander, garam masala, turmeric, salt and paprika. Simmer 10 minutes, or until sauce thickens, stirring occasionally. Add up to 1/2 cup water if sauce is too thick.

4. Stir in peas, sour cream and sugar. Simmer 5 minutes, or until peas are heated through.

5. Fold in paneer, and cook 3 minutes more. Remove bay leaf, and serve hot with basmati rice or naan bread.

Vegetarian Times Issue: October 1, 2006 p.70

Sauce Your Pasta the Italian Way

Friday, September 28, 2007

Swiss chard and white bean minestrone

Minestrone is a delicious Italian vegetable soup that can be fancy and complex or laid back and unpretentious, like this recipe. The soup is beefed up here by serving ladles of the hot minestrone over thick and garlicky toasted ciabatta to mop up all the goodness. Serves 4.

2 tbs butter
1 onion, chopped
1 small bunch of Swiss chard (about 350g), finely chopped
1l vegetable stock
400g canned cannellini beans, drained but not rinsed and roughly mashed
4 thick slices of ciabatta
2 garlic cloves, halved
extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
finely grated parmesan cheese, to serve
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 4-5 minutes to soften. Add the Swiss chard and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often, until softened. Add the stock and beans and gently bring to the boil. Season with sea salt and black pepper.

Toast the ciabatta until golden on both sides. Rub the bread with the cut side of the garlic, then place each one in a serving bowl. Drizzle each piece of bread with olive oil and ladle over the soup. Sprinkle the parmesan on top and serve immediately.

Next time: It's easy to turn this into a satisfying pasta meal. Simply leave out the stock and add 400g cooked pasta shapes to the pan when you add the beans, season well with sea salt and black pepper and stir in some finely grated parmesan cheese for extra flavour.

Swiss chard and white bean minestrone [via Treehugger]

Roasted carrots with barley risotto

Barley is a wonderful ingredient - it's so earthy and unprocessed and I like to throw it into all sort of things, such as lamb stews and soups. I've used it here to make a dish much like a risotto, but without all the stirring! Despite seeming an odd couple, miso and parmesan do work well together and give the barley an intensely savoury flavour that's perfect with sweet carrots.Serves 4.

2 tbs light olive oil
12 baby carrots, ends trimmed
2 tbs butter
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 garlic cloves, unpeeled and cut in half
500ml [vegetable] stock
1 tbs light soy sauce
220g barley
1 tbs butter
3 heaped tbs finely grated parmesan cheese
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a frying pan until very hot. Add the carrots and cook for 8-10 minutes, turning every 2 minutes, until golden. If your pan isn't big enough you may need to do this in batches. Add the butter, thyme and garlic to the pan with 125ml water and season with sea salt and black pepper. Cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid and cook over medium heat for 15-20 minutes, turning often, until the carrots are tender.

Meanwhile, to make the barley risotto, put the stock and soy sauce in a saucepan with 1 litre water and bring to the boil. Add the barley and cook for 45-50 minutes, stirring often, until the barley is soft but not breaking up. Stir in the butter and parmesan. Serve the carrots on top of the barley.

Next time: The carrots could be served hot on a bed of couscous or, left to cool and tossed in a salad with beetroot, toasted pine nuts and a soft cheese.

Roasted carrots with barley risotto [via Treehugger]

Spicy red vegetable soup

The colour of this fiery red soup is matched by a pleasing chilli kick, which can be adjusted according to your palate - just add extra chillies as required. Don't be put off by the cooking time - use it as an opportunity to do a few chores. Serves 4

60ml light olive oil
1 tbs soft brown sugar
1 red pepper, chopped
1kg roma or plum tomatoes, quartered
1 red onion
1 large red chilli, deseeded and chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
250ml vegetable... stock
4 slices of rye bread
50g soft goats' cheese

Preheat the oven to 180C (350F) Gas 4. Put the olive oil, sugar, pepper, tomatoes, onion, chilli and garlic in a roasting tin, toss everything together and cook in the preheated oven for 2 hours, stirring often, until the vegetables are really soft and starting to turn brown.

Remove the vegetables from the oven. Put the stock in a saucepan and stir in the vegetables. Spoon the mixture, in batches, into a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Return the soup to a clean saucepan and cook over a low heat for a few minutes until heated through.

Toast the rye bread and, while it's still warm, spread on the cheese. Float the toast on the soup to serve.

Ross Dobson on autumnal food | The Observer [via Treehugger]

Carrot and lentil soup

You'll need to use a variety of lentils here that will soften to a mush when cooked for a short time. French green lentils, or puy, will not work. Orange or red varieties are what's needed and they also help to create the rich autumnal colour. The taste of this soup belies the simplicity of its ingredients. Carrots can be very sweet and lentils are nutty and wholesome, so they make a perfect pair. For a simple twist on this great recipe, try adding a couple of tablespoons of good-quality curry powder to the onions at the early stage of cooking. Serves 4

3 tsp butter
1 red onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
2 tsp sun-dried tomato purée
500g carrots, grated
250g red lentils, rinsed and drained
1.5l chicken stock
125ml natural yoghurt
a handful of fresh coriander leaves, chopped

Heat the butter in a heavy-based saucepan over high heat. When the butter is sizzling, add the onion and garlic and cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring often. Add the sun-dried tomato purée and stir-fry for one minute. Add the carrots, lentils and stock to the pan and bring to the boil.

Cook at a rapid simmer for 40 minutes, until the lentils are soft. Spoon the soup, in batches, into a food processor or blender and process until smooth.

Return the soup to a clean saucepan and cook over a low heat for a few minutes, until heated through.Serve with dollops of yoghurt and the coriander sprinkled on top.

Carrot and lentil soup [via]

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Baked Orzo with Zucchini

This simple dish comes together in minutes and calls for a light soup or tossed green salad and hot Italian bread with olive oil for dunking. It also makes a great buffet party dish, as it can feed a group when served with other fare. Serves 6.

2 cups dried tri-colored or plain orzo
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 tsps. minced garlic
1 large leek, thinly sliced
2 zucchini, thinly sliced
1 cup chunky marinara sauce
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 cups shredded, low-fat mozzarella
Pizza or Italian spice mix to taste
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400ºF. Lightly oil heatproof baking dish.

2. Heat water in covered saucepan. When at a rapid boil, cook orzo until almost tender, about 5 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, heat oil in skillet over medium heat and sauté garlic, leeks, and zucchini slices for about 10 minutes, stirring often.

4. Drain orzo and place in baking dish. Stir in marinara sauce, salt, and pepper and spice mix. Top with half the cheese.

5. Arrange zucchini and leek slices on top of orzo, and top with remaining mozzarella. Bake for 15 minutes, or until mozzarella melts. During last 5 minutes, sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese.

Baked Orzo with Zucchini

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Mediterranean Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed peppers are a show-stopping, tried-and-true dinner classic. In this version, pomegranate juice and dried figs give it a Mediterranean feel.


4 large yellow or red bell peppers
3/4 cup pomegranate or cranberry juice
1/2 cup dried figs, stemmed and chopped
1 1/2 cups cooked wild rice
1 cup diced yellow squash
1/2 cup nonfat feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 400ºF.

2. Cut tops off peppers to use as lids. Scrape out seeds and ribs with knife. Combine pomegranate juice and figs in large saucepan, and cook over medium heat 7 to 10 minutes, or until figs soften and juice reduces and becomes syrupy. Remove from heat, and stir in rice, squash, feta cheese and walnuts. Fill peppers with mixture, and set in 9x13-inch baking pan. Place tops on peppers. Add 1/2 inch water to pan, and cover with foil.

3. Bake 30 to 40 minutes, or until peppers are tender with slightly wrinkled skins and filling is hot.

Mediterranean Stuffed Peppers [Vegetarian Times Issue: September 1, 2005 p.87]

Monday, September 10, 2007

No-Cook Cannellini Salad with Pesto Dressing

In this recipe, the pesto is tossed with white beans to create an elegant salad in a flash. Serves 4.

2 19-oz. cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
3 cups shredded red cabbage
2/3 cup thinly sliced green onions
2 to 3 Tbs. prepared basil pesto
1 Tbs. chopped capers

Directions: Combine all ingredients in large bowl. Let stand 15 to 30 minutes to allow flavors to meld. Serve at room temperature.

No-Cook Cannellini Salad with Pesto Dressing [Vegetarian Times]

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Smoky Penne with Corn and Cherry Tomatoes

Most people associate goat cheese with French cuisine, but it plays a big role in Mexican cooking, too. Chipotle chiles are smoked jalapeños that can be found dried or canned in adobo sauce. Serves 4.

Ingredient List
* 12 oz. penne pasta
* 1 dried chipotle chile, soaked in hot water 10 minutes, or 1 chile from 4-oz. can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
* 2 Tbs. olive oil, divided
* 2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 tsp.)
* 1 4-oz. log goat cheese, plus more for crumbling and sprinkling, if desired
* 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
* 2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
* 2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels

1. Cook pasta according to package directions.

2. Meanwhile, remove seeds from chipotle chile and finely chop. Heat 1 Tbs. oil in skillet over medium-low heat. Add chile and garlic, and sauté 1 minute, or until fragrant. Stir in goat cheese and 1/3 cup water, and cook 2 to 3 minutes, or until smooth sauce forms, stirring constantly. Simmer 2 minutes more, then remove from heat and add cilantro and remaining 1 Tbs. olive oil.

3. Drain pasta, and return to pot. Add tomatoes, corn and cheese sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and transfer to warm serving bowl. Toss in extra goat cheese crumbles, if desired.

Vegetarian Times Issue: September 1, 2006 p.71

Friday, August 31, 2007

Roasted Garlic Pasta

To roast slice off just the very top of the head of garlic so that you can see the tip of the flesh of the cloves. Drizzle with olive oil and roast at 350 F for about 15-20 minutes or until soft. When it has cooled break open the skin of each clove and the garlic should just pop out. You can keep the roasted garlic in the refrigerator for a couple of days. Serves 2.

1 head roasted garlic
1/2 - 3/4 cup cream
1/2 cup fresh thyme (or whatever) chopped
salt and pepper to taste
pasta for 2
parmesan cheese to taste

1. In a small pot mash the roasted garlic to a paste.
2 Add cream, thyme, salt and pepper and stir until slightly thickened
3. In a separate pot cook pasta in abundant boiling water until al dente.
4. Pour the sauce over the pasta and serve immediately

Roasted Garlic Pasta: From Hugh Alter, via Nigel Slater

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Fava Bean Cakes with Diced Red Peppers and Yogurt

This simple main course pairs favorite Mediterranean flavors and ingredients. It comes together quickly and suits family tastes, yet looks dramatic enough to impress VIPs. Serves4.


2 cups canned fava beans, drained and rinsed
1 large egg [or substitute]
1 onion, peeled and diced
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 Tbs. olive oil, plus extra oil for frying
1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
3 Tbs. all-purpose flour
2 Tbs. chopped Italian parsley
1 ½ cups plain low-fat or regular yogurt, for garnish
1 red pepper, seeded and diced, for garnish

1. Combine fava beans, egg, onion, garlic, 1 Tbs. olive oil, lemon juice, flour, and 1 Tbs. parsley in food processor. Process until coarsely chopped and well combined.

2. Heat 2 to 3 Tbs. oil in large skillet over medium heat. When hot, scoop 1/4 cup bean mixture into oil and repeat until skillet is full. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes on one side, and when firm and slightly brown, turn over to cook other side. Carefully remove from skillet and place on plates. Repeat with remaining bean mixture until mixture is used up.

3. To serve, spoon generous scoops yogurt over each serving and sprinkle with parsley and diced red pepper. Serve immediately.

Fava Bean Cakes with Diced Red Peppers and Yogurt [Recipe of the day: Vegetarian Times]

Friday, August 10, 2007

Soba Noodle Salad

2 tbsp sesame oil
1 1/2 tsp chili oil or chili flakes
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp chili flakes
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 cup water
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp corn starch or arrowroot powder
juice of 2 limes
2 tbsp cilantro, minced

1 lb soba noodles
2 tbsp hijiki seaweed, soaked and cut into small pieces or seaweed flakes, unsoaked
4 scallions, minced
1 carrot, shredded
1 sweet red pepper, julienned
1/2 English cucumber
2 avocado, cubed
1/4 cup roasted cashews

1. Heat oils in pot over medium heat. Add garlic and chili and saute briefly being careful not to let them burn. Stir in vinegar, soy sauce and water and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer and add honey, stirring to dissolve. Mix corn starch and a couple of tablespoons of water and whisk into simmering liquid. Continue to simmer for about 5 minutes. When the mixture has thickened slightly, remove from heat and cool. Stir in lime juice and cilantro and set aside.

2. Meanwhile cook noodles according to the package. Drain and rinse in cold, running water. Remove excess water. Lightly toss with sesame oil. Refrigerate until ready to use.

3. Before serving combine chilled noodles with prepared vegetables except avocado. Coat liberally with dressing and toss well. Garnish with avocado and cashews. Serve immediately.

From Sarah Bonsall and Robert Oullette of Reading Toronto [via TreeHugger].

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Swiss Chard

[Chard] has a more delicate taste than spinach and it holds it's shape and colour better in the cooking. You can find regular swiss chard which has a bright red stem or rainbow chard which has red and orange stems.

If you have young chard, by all means cook the stems as well. If the plant is a bit older and the stems are large they can be a bit woody so you should trim them off. With this recipe you can come home from work and have a simple, delicious dinner on the table in less than half an hour.

1 bunch swiss chard, carefully washed and roughly chopped
2 cloves of garlic - mashed, chopped or minced - this is entirely to your taste
olive oil
1 can beans, drained and rinsed - use navy, black beans or white kidney beans, also your choice
crusty bread
sea salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat oil in pan. Saute garlic until golden. Add chard the saute over medium heat until tender, about 8 minutes.
2. Add beans and heat through.
3. Toast a couple of slices of bread - if you want, rub a clove of garlic over the toast. Pour the chard and beans on the toast and add salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Of course, you can always soak dry beans over night and then cook them and add to this recipe, but that implies forethought. This is really about getting something nutritious and delicious to the table quickly when you are tired and hungry and are tempted to order take-out. If you can't find chard you can substitute spinach and cook it for less time or kale and cook it for closer to 20 minutes.

Swiss Chard

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Zucchini, Mushroom and Taleggio Tart

Try making this light appetizer with the wild mushrooms that are gaining popularity at farmers’ markets around the country. If you can’t find Taleggio cheese, use a soft goat cheese instead. Serves 8.

* 2 Tbs. olive oil
* 1 lb. zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch rounds (about 3 cups)
* 10 oz. mushrooms, sliced (about 2 1/2 cups)
* 2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 tsp.)
* 1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
* 2 Tbs. Madeira wine
* 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed (1/2 17.3-oz. pkg.)
* 3 oz. Taleggio cheese, thinly sliced (about 1/2 cup)

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Heat 1 Tbs. oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add half of zucchini and sauté 5 to 7 minutes, or until browned on both sides. Transfer to paper-towel-lined plate to drain. Repeat with remaining zucchini. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

2. Add remaining olive oil to skillet. Sauté mushrooms 7 to 10 minutes, or until browned and liquid has evaporated. Stir in garlic and thyme, and cook 1 minute. Add Madeira, and sauté 1 minute more, or until liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat.

3. Place puff pastry on prepared baking sheet. Prick dough all over with fork, leaving 1/2-inch border on all sides. Spread mushrooms over pastry inside border. Lay zucchini and cheese over mushrooms. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until edges are golden brown and cheese has melted. Let stand 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

Zucchini, Mushroom and Taleggio Tart

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Rustic Plum Tart

Take advantage of another fruit in peak season: Substitute unpeeled nectarines for the plums. Serves 10.

1⁄4 cup chopped walnuts
2 lbs. ripe plums
1⁄4 cup unbleached flour
1⁄2 cup sugar
3 Tbs. red currant jelly

Pastry crust
1 1⁄2 cups unbleached flour
2 Tbs. sugar
1⁄2 tsp. salt
1⁄3 cup walnut oil
3 to 6 Tbs. ice water

1. Preheat oven to 425F. Lightly coat baking sheet with cooking spray.

2. To make Pastry Crust: In medium bowl, mix flour, sugar, and salt. Using fork, slowly stir oil into flour until mixture is crumbly. Stir in enough ice water so dough will hold together. Press dough into flattened disk.

3. Roll dough between sheets of wax paper into rough circle, 14 to 15 inches in diameter and approximately 1⁄16 inch thick, patching where necessary. Remove top sheet and invert dough onto prepared baking sheet. Cover and refrigerate while preparing filling.

4. To make Filling: Spread nuts in pie pan and toast in oven until lightly golden, about 5 minutes. Let cool.

5. Meanwhile, quarter plums, discarding pits. In food processor, combine walnuts, flour and 1⁄4 cup sugar. Process until finely ground.

6. Spread flour-nut mixture over pastry, leaving 11⁄2-inch border around edge. Arrange plums, resting on their sides, in concentric circles, over nut mixture. Sprinkle with remaining 1⁄4 cup sugar. Fold pastry border over plums.

7. Bake 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375F and bake until crust is golden and juices are bubbling, 30 to 40 minutes.

8. Using long spatula, loosen warm tart from baking sheet and slide onto serving platter. Let cool.

9. Heat jelly in small saucepan over low heat until melted, then brush sauce over plums before serving.

Rustic Plum Tart [Vegetarian Times]

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Rice Noodle Salad with Pineapple Dressing

7 oz. thin rice noodles
2 tsp. vegetable oil
1 cup finely diced red bell pepper (1 small)
1 cup grated carrots (about 2)
1⁄2 cup chopped cilantro
1⁄2 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
1 medium head Boston lettuce, leaves separated
1 lime, sliced in half moons, for garnish

1 cup pineapple juice
1⁄2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1⁄3 cup coarsely chopped fresh ginger
1⁄4 cup rice vinegar
2 Tbs. vegetable oil
3 to 4 tsp. vegetarian Thai green curry paste
2 tsp. brown sugar
6 medium cloves garlic, minced

This delicate and refreshing salad is guaranteed to perk you up on a hot summer’s day. The generous amount of fresh-tasting, tangy dressing is enough to moisten the salad and pass the remainder as a dipping sauce. You could also serve rice paper wrappers alongside and use the noodle salad and lettuce as a filling for spring rolls. Dip rice paper wrappers in warm water 10 to 20 seconds to soften before filling.

1. Bring large pot of water to a boil.

2. Make dressing: In blender or food processor, combine all dressing ingredients; process until well blended. Set aside. (Dressing can be made up to 4 days ahead and refrigerated.)

3. Put noodles into large bowl. Pour boiling water over noodles and stir to immerse and separate strands. Let soak 5 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. Drain again, shaking colander. Return noodles to bowl, drizzle with oil and toss to coat.

4. Add bell pepper, carrots, scallions, 1⁄4 cup cilantro and 1⁄4 cup mint to noodles in bowl. Add half of the reserved dressing and toss to coat. Line platter or shallow serving bowl with lettuce leaves; top with noodle salad. Sprinkle with remaining cilantro and mint and garnish with lime. Serve, passing remaining dressing separately.

Rice Noodle Salad with Pineapple Dressing [via Vegetarian Times]

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Almost Totally Tomatoes

This showy main-course pasta salad gets its visual impact from a mix and match of tomato shapes and colors. Serve with grilled or toasted Italian focaccia drizzled with olive oil. Serves 4.

1 9-oz. pkg. fresh fettuccine, preferably spinach
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 Tbs. lemon juice
2 Tbs. grated Parmesan cheese plus extra for sprinkling
2 Tbs. chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
2 tomatillos, thinly sliced
1 plum tomato, diced
1 heirloom tomato, cubed
1 cup grape tomatoes
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1 cup pear tomatoes
Sun-dried tomato vinaigrette as desired
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds

1. Cook fettuccine according to package directions. Drain, rinse under cold water and drain again. Put into large bowl, and toss with oil, lemon juice, 2 Tbs. Parmesan cheese, and sun-dried tomatoes.

2. Combine tomatillos and all fresh tomatoes in large mixing bowl, and toss with vinaigrette. Arrange pasta in individual bowls, top with tomatoes, and sprinkle with pumpkin seeds and remaining Parmesan cheese. Serve.


Almost Totally Tomatoes [via Vegetarian Times]

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Grilled Sweet Potato Salad

Grilled sweet potatoes require close attention�but the results are worth it. Slice them too thick, and they won�t cook through; slice them too thin, and they�ll char quickly. So slice carefully, and keep an eye on the grill. Serves 4.

Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette
1 tsp. grated or minced lime zest
3 Tbs. fresh lime juice
1 Tbs. white wine vinegar
2 Tbs. chopped cilantro
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt to taste

Sweet Potatoes
2 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced 3/8-inch thick
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 scallions, white and tender green parts, sliced
3 Tbs. orange, mango or pineapple juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


1. Prepare medium-low charcoal fire, or preheat gas grill (or broiler).

2. To make Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette: Combine lime zest, juice and vinegar in large bowl. Whisk in oil until completely blended. Stir in cilantro, garlic and salt.

3. To make Sweet Potatoes: Add potato slices to vinaigrette, and let marinate a few minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer potato slices to grill. Turn occasionally, basting with remaining vinaigrette, and cook until tender when pierced with fork, 10 to 15 minutes.

4. Return grilled potatoes to vinaigrette. Add red pepper, scallions, juice, salt and pepper; toss gently. Serve immediately.

Grilled Sweet Potato Salad [Vegetarian Times]

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Cool Cucumber Sauce

This salsa-like condiment is the perfect topping for the Spicy Peanut Stew.

1/2 cup chopped roasted peanuts
1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced (about 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 jalapeño pepper, stemmed, seeded and minced, optional
2 Tbs. lime juice
1 Tbs. grated fresh ginger
1/2 tsp. salt

1. Toss together all ingredients in small bowl. Serve with Spicy Peanut Stew.


Vegetarian Times: Cool Cucumber Sauce

Spicy Peanut Stew

The basis of all African meals is a soupy stew served with a starch,” explains Jessica B. Harris, culinary historian and author of The Africa Cookbook: Tastes of a Continent. This West African version gets its distinctive taste from creamy peanut butter and chile-laced chopped tomatoes.

2 Tbs. olive oil
1 medium onion, diced (about 1 cup)
1 celery stalk, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1 Tbs. grated fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 tsp.)
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks (about 2 cups)
1 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes with chiles
1 lb. butternut or acorn squash, cut into 1-inch chunks (about 3 cups)
1/2 lb. cauliflower florets (about 4 cups)
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
6 cups cooked brown rice
1 head watercress, stems removed

1. Heat oil in large pot over medium low heat. Add onion and celery, and cook 5 minutes, or until onion is translucent, stirring occasionally. Stir in ginger and garlic, and cook 5 minutes more, or until vegetables are soft.

2. Add potato and tomatoes. Increase heat to medium, and cook 5 minutes, or until sauce is thickened, stirring occasionally.

3. Stir in 2 cups water, and season with salt and pepper. Simmer partially covered, 10 minutes. Add squash and cauliflower, and cook 15 minutes more, or until vegetables are tender.

4. Whisk together peanut butter and 1/2 cup warm water in small bowl. Add to stew, and cook 4 minutes, or until thickened, stirring constantly. Spoon over rice, and top with watercress.


Vegetarian Times: Spicy Peanut Stew

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Cheese Ravioli with Grape Tomatoes

A cheerful pasta dish, this entrée builds on several basic ingredients for a quick-cook meal. Serve with a tossed green salad, brownies or blondies and fruit juice. Serves 4.

9 oz. fresh cheese-filled ravioli
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 bunch spinach, rinsed and stemmed
2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes
1 Tbs. onion powder
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 Tbs. grated Parmesan cheese

1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil over medium-high heat, and add ravioli. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, or until ravioli float to surface and are tender. Remove from heat, drain, and set aside.
2. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat, and add spinach, tomatoes, onion powder, salt and pepper, and sauté 5 to 7 minutes, or until spinach and tomatoes wilt. Stir in ravioli, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes more. Remove from heat.
3. To serve, spoon equal portions onto individual plates, and sprinkle evenly with Parmesan cheese.

PER SERVING: 270 Calories, 12g Protein, 13g Total Fat (4G Saturated Fat), 28g, Carbohydrates, 30mg Cholesterol, 260mg Sodium, 5g Fiber, 4g Sugars

Cheese Ravioli with Grape Tomatoes

Couscous with Asparagus, Snow Peas and Radishes

Feel free to substitute different vegetables as they come into season throughout the summer.

1/2 lb. asparagus, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds (about 1 3/4 cups)
1/4 lb. snow peas, sliced crosswise into 1/4-inch strips (about 1 cup)
2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
3 2-inch strips lemon zest
1 10-oz. pkg. couscous
3 radishes, thinly sliced (about 1/3 cup)
3 Tbs. lemon juice
2 Tbs. chopped chives
2 Tbs. chopped parsley
1 Tbs. chopped mint

1. Cook asparagus and snow peas in large pot of boiling salted water 2 to 3 minutes, or until crisp-tender. Drain and rinse under cold water.

2. Bring broth and lemon zest to a boil in large pot. Put couscous in bowl, and stir in broth. Cover, and let stand 10 minutes. Discard lemon zest.

3. Fluff couscous with fork, and stir in asparagus, snow peas, radishes, lemon juice, chives, parsley and mint. Season with salt and pepper.

Serves 6, 30 minutes or fewer

Couscous with Asparagus, Snow Peas and Radishes

Friday, June 8, 2007

Carrot and Coriander Soup

1 tbsp oil
2 onions, chopped
3 tbsp ground coriander
2 tbsp marjoram
6 cloves of garlic, minced
3 large carrots, chopped
1 sweet potato, chopped
8 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1. Heat oil in pot and saute onions until soft, about 5 minutes
2. Add coriander, marjoram and garlic and stir for about a minute.
3. Add carrots. sweet potato and stock. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until carrots and potato are tender, about 30 minutes.
4. Add cilantro, salt and cayenne pepper.
5. Puree using an immersion blender, or in batches in a food processor. [Serves 4]

TreeHugger Recipe of the Week: Carrot and Coriander Soup

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Green Coconut Curry

Prepared Thai curry paste is available in the Asian section of most supermarkets. If you can’t find green, feel free to use red or yellow. Since the paste is quite spicy, taste a little before you add it and use more or less as preferred. Garnish with chopped roasted peanuts and cilantro if desired.

1 cup reduced-fat coconut milk
1 tsp. green curry paste
1 1/2 lb. frozen mixed Asian vegetables (mixes with peas are good here)
2 Tbs. teriyaki sauce
4 cups cooked brown rice

1. Combine coconut milk and curry paste in wok or large saucepan over medium heat, and bring to a boil. Stir in frozen vegetables. Simmer over medium heat 10 minutes. Stir in teriyaki sauce, and serve over rice.


Serves 4 - Vegan - 30 minutes or fewer
Green Coconut Curry

Penne with Butternut Squash and Pesto

Cubed butternut squash is a recent addition to most frozen food sections—and a welcome one since it eliminates all the peeling, scraping and slicing that go with fresh squash. (Fresh butternut squash will also work, though.)

1/4 cup prepared pesto, divided
1 cup chopped frozen onions
1 1/4 lb. frozen diced butternut squash, about 4 cups
2/3 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
3/4 lb. whole-wheat penne

1. Heat 1 Tbs. pesto in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion, and sauté 6 minutes, or until softened. Stir in squash and broth. Cover, and cook over medium low 10 minutes, or until squash is tender, stirring occasionally.
2. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, and divide among 4 bowls. Swirl remaining 1 Tbs. pesto into sauce, and season with salt and pepper. Spoon sauce over pasta, and use remaining pesto to garnish each serving.


Serves 4 - 30 minutes or fewer
Penne with Butternut Squash and Pesto

Greek Zucchini Salad with Crumbled Feta

Fresh mint, feta cheese and zucchini are a favorite summer salad combination in small tavernas throughout the Greek Isles. For a more colorful salad, use one zucchini and one yellow squash. Serves 6.

3 Tbs. lemon juice
2 tsp. grated lemon zest
1 clove garlic, minced (about 1 tsp.)
1/3 cup olive oil
2 medium zucchini, peeled into thin ribbons (about 4 cups)
1 medium sweet onion, such as Vidalia or Walla Walla, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 green onions, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
1 Tbs. chopped fresh mint
1 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley

1. Whisk together lemon juice, lemon zest and garlic in large serving bowl. Gradually whisk in oil. Season with salt and pepper. Add zucchini and onion, and toss to coat. Cover and marinate overnight, or up to 2 days. Sprinkle with feta, green onions, mint and parsley just before serving.


Greek Zucchini Salad with Crumbled Feta: from the May-June '07 issue of Vegetarian Times

Friday, May 18, 2007

Orzo Casserole

The small, rice-shaped pasta known as orzo is very versatile. Cubed eggplant cooks quickly and with the accompanying sauce and cheese, contributes to the heartiness of this entrée. Offer a bean soup or an Italian-style minestrone to start, and serve Italian ice for dessert (Serves 8).

2 cups uncooked orzo
1 eggplant (about 1 lb.), unpeeled
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 cups primavera-style spaghetti sauce
1 Tbs. garlic
1 large tomato, cubed
Red pepper flakes to taste, optional
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
3 cups shredded low-fat mozzarella cheese
3 Tbs. Parmesan cheese for garnish, optional

1. Preheat oven to 450F. Spray 2- to 3-quart ovenproof baking dish with cooking spray.

2. Bring pot of lightly salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook orzo according to package directions. When just tender, drain, rinse and drain again. Set aside.

3. Cube eggplant. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add eggplant, and sauté for about 5 minutes. Add 1 cup sauce, garlic, tomato, red pepper flakes (if using) and salt and pepper. Continue cooking 4 to 5 minutes more.

4. Meanwhile, scoop half orzo into baking dish. Layer eggplant on orzo. Sprinkle eggplant with 2 cups mozzarella cheese. Layer remaining orzo on cheese. Spread remaining cheese and 1 cup sauce on orzo.

5. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until cheese melts and bubbles. Remove from oven, and sprinkle with Parmesan (if using). Serve hot.

PER SERVING: 380 Calories, 18g Protein, 15g Total Fat (5G Saturated Fat), 42g Carbohydrates, 25mg Cholesterol, 450mg Sodium, 5g Fiber, 8g Sugars.

Orzo Casserole: Vegetarian Times (Daily Recipe - May 15, 2007)

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Arugula Salad with Figs And Walnuts

4 cups loosely packed arugula leaves
2 cups quartered fresh figs
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 tablespoons walnuts
4 teaspoons raspberry vinegar
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and gently toss.

Arugula Salad with Figs And Walnuts

Wilted Beet Greens with Baby Red Potatoes

1/2 pound small red potatoes
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 bunch beet greens, tough stems discarded and remainder washed well and dried

In a medium saucepan bring potatoes with salted water to a boil and simmer 15 minutes, or until tender. Drain potatoes in a colander, let cool, and cut each potato in half. In a heavy skillet, heat butter and oil over moderate heat and cook potatoes, cut sides down, until golden, about 5 minutes. Loosen potatoes from bottom of skillet. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until garlic is pale golden. Add greens and cook, covered, 3 minutes, or until greens are wilted. Season with salt and pepper to taste and stir until combined well.

Wilted Beet Greens with Baby Red Potatoes

Miso Soup with Baby White Turnips, Snap Peas and Scallions

4 cups water
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 cup kombu
1 small onion, diced 1/4'
1 clove garlic, diced
1 bunch Japanese turnips, sliced thinly 1/4'
1/2 cup snow peas
2-3 tablespoons miso
2 scallions, sliced thinly

Heat oil in bottom of small pot, add onion, garlic, and kombu and cook for about a minute stirring frequently. Add water and bring to a boil over a high flame. Add turnips and cover. Reduce heat to low and simmer twenty minutes. Drop snowpeas into soup and simmer three to four more minutes. Turn off heat and dissolve miso in 1/2 cup water and add to pot. DO NOT BOIL again once miso has been added. Garnish with chopped scallions and serve hot.

Miso Soup with Baby White Turnips, Snap Peas and Scallions

Monday, May 14, 2007

Three Onion-Asparagus Soup

Serve this delicate soup hot or chilled, in large bowls for a luncheon entrée or in soup cups or mugs as a first course (Serves 4).

2 Tbs. butter
4 scallions, trimmed and chopped
1 large leek, white part only, well washed and chopped
1 lb. asparagus, trimmed and chopped
1/2 lb. potatoes (1 large), peeled and cubed
4 cups vegetable stock
Salt to taste
1 Tbs. lemon juice
1/3 cup crème fraîche, sour cream or plain yogurt
12 to 16 chives, sliced
4 radishes, thinly sliced

1. Melt butter in large pot over medium heat. Stir in scallions and leek, and cook about 8 minutes, until very soft, stirring often. Add asparagus, potatoes and stock, and increase heat to high. When soup reaches a simmer, reduce heat to low, and cook for 20 minutes.

2. Remove from heat, and let cool for about 5 minutes. Purée soup in batches in food processor or blender until very smooth. Return soup to clean soup pot.

3. To serve, reheat soup to a simmer just before ladling, and season to taste with salt and lemon juice. Ladle soup into bowls, and top with dollop of crème fraîche and sprinkle of chives and radishes.

PER SERVING:200 Calories, 5g Protein, 11g Total Fat (6G Saturated Fat,)24g Carbohydrates, 25mg Cholesterol, 550mg Sodium, 4g Fiber, 7g Sugars

Tofu-Carrot Cacciatore

Tomatoes and carrots grow better when planted side-by-side in the garden—and they taste great together too (Serves 6).

2 Tbs. olive oil
2 medium-size onions, coarsely chopped (about 2 cups)
1 large green pepper, cut into 1 1⁄2-inch strips
3 large cloves garlic, minced (1 Tbs.)
1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes
2 8-oz. bags baby carrots, halved diagonally
1 8-oz. pkg. Italian-flavored baked tofu, cut into cubes
1 Tbs. rubbed dried sage
1 bay leaf
12 oz. linguine or other pasta

1. Heat olive oil in large pot over medium heat. Add onions and pepper, and cook 5 to 7 minutes, or until softened, stirring often. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more, or until fragrant.

2. Stir in tomatoes, carrots, tofu, sage and bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper. Cover, reduce heat to medium low and simmer about 1 hour, or until carrots are tender. Remove bay leaf.

3. After cacciatore has simmered about 45 minutes, cook pasta according to package directions. Serve cacciatore over pasta.


Vegetarian Times: Recipe from May-June '06 issue

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Italian-Style Roasted Vegetables

This version is dressed with Italian seasonings. Select at least four different vegetables, or follow the combination below. To speed preparation, parboil the harder, longer-cooking vegetables, such as sweet potatoes and potatoes, before roasting them. Serves 4 to 6

Roasted Vegetables
2 potatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks or cut in half lengthwise and sliced crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick semicircles
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks or sliced as above
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks or cut on diagonal
1 large onion, cut into wedges
1 medium-sized zucchini, cut into 1-inch chunks or cut on diagonal into 1/2-inch-thick slices
2 bell peppers, cut into 1-inch chunks

Italian Dressing
4 tsp. olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
6 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
3 Tbs. minced fresh rosemary
1 Tbs. minced fresh oregano
1 tsp. salt

To make Roasted Vegetables: Preheat oven to 425F.
Parboil potatoes, sweet potatoes and carrots in boiling water to cover for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, and drain well. In large bowl, combine parboiled vegetables with onions, zucchini and bell peppers.
To make Italian Dressing: Place ingredients in bowl, and whisk together or purée in blender.
Toss vegetables with dressing, and place in single layer on large unoiled baking tray.
Bake vegetables, stirring every 15 minutes, until tender, about 45 minutes.

PER SERVING: 180 Calories, 4g Protein, 3g Total Fat, 35g Carbohydrates, 410mg Sodium, 4g Fiber, 11g Sugars.

Italian-Style Roasted Vegetables (Recipe of the day: April 24, 2007)

Herbed Tofu Lasagna with Zucchini

Simple, fresh flavors and an innovative way with tofu—it’s blended with herbs and seasonings until creamy and ricotta-like—make this lasagna one you’ll want to make year-round. The key: Use the best purchased marinara sauce you can find, then drizzle each serving with extra virgin olive oil. Serves 10 - Vegan

2 14-oz. pkg. firm tofu, well drained
1⁄2 cup chopped fresh basil
1⁄3 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1⁄3 cup pine nuts, toasted*
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 Tbs. lemon juice
1 tsp. salt
1⁄2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1⁄4 tsp. sugar
1 Tbs. olive oil
4 medium-size zucchini, cut into
1⁄2-inch slices (about 3 cups)
5 cups marinara sauce
16 no-cook lasagna noodles (9 oz.)

* To toast pine nuts: Place nuts in dry skillet over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring constantly, about 3 minutes, until golden.

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Coat 13x9- inch baking dish with cooking spray. Combine tofu, basil, parsley, pine nuts, garlic, lemon juice, salt, red pepper flakes and sugar in food processor; blend until smooth and similar to ricotta in texture.

2. Put oil and zucchini in large nonstick skillet. Sauté 3 to 5 minutes over medium-high heat, or until just tender.

3. Spread 3 Tbs. marinara sauce over bottom of prepared baking dish. Cover with layer of noodles, overlapping slightly, half of tofu mixture and half of zucchini mixture. Top with another layer of noodles, remaining tofu and zucchini, and 1⁄2 cup sauce. Finish with another layer of noodles and remaining sauce.

4. Cover with foil, and bake 1 hour. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.



Monday, April 16, 2007

Tabouleh / Taouli Salad

- bulgur wheat-- 3 cups soak in warm water 1.5 hours
- tomatoes--5 roma
- cucumbers--2
- parsley--3 bunches

cut vegetables into chunks of approximately the same size
add wheat
add juice of half a lemon
add 1/4 tsp black pepper
add 1 tsp hing/asafoetida
add 1.5 tsp salt
add finely chopped parsley--put last so you know that if it's mixed, the other spices are too
optional--add 2 tsp sumac
add olive oil to taste


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Mushroom and Swiss Chard Lasagna

For brands of oven-ready lasagna noodles that contain 12 noodles per box, use 3 noodles per layer. For those with 16 noodles, use 4 per layer. Serves 8.

1 lb. Swiss chard, well rinsed, or 16 oz. frozen spinach
2 tsp. olive oil
1 lb. cremini or baby bella mushrooms, quartered
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
1 26-oz. jar marinara sauce
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 large egg
1 15-oz. container low-fat ricotta cheese
2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 8- to 9-oz. pkg. oven-ready lasagna noodles (12 to 16 noodles)
2 cups grated part-skim mozzarella cheese

Bring large pot of water to a boil. Remove stems from Swiss chard leaves; cut stems into 1/2-inch lengths. Cut leaves into 1-inch strips. Add stems to boiling water, cover and cook 3 minutes. Add leaves, cover and cook 3 to 4 minutes, until tender. Drain, rinse under cold water; press out excess moisture.

Heat oil in nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, and cook, stirring occasionally, 3 to 5 minutes, or until browned. Add garlic and crushed red pepper; cook, stirring, about 10 seconds. Transfer to bowl, and stir in Swiss chard and 2 cups marinara sauce. Season with salt and pepper.

Whisk together egg, ricotta, 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper in bowl. Put 3 or 4 lasagna noodles in large bowl, and cover with warm water; let soak.

Preheat oven to 400F.

Spread about 1/2 cup marinara sauce in 9x13-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Place 3 or 4 dry noodles over sauce. Cover with 2/3 cup ricotta mixture. Top with 1 1/2 cups Swiss chard mixture. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup mozzarella. Repeat layering two times.

Lift soaked noodles from water, pat dry and arrange on top of lasagna. Cover with remaining marinara sauce. Tightly cover pan with aluminum foil. (Lasagna can be prepared ahead to this point, and refrigerated up to 2 days.)

Bake 35 minutes, and then uncover. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese and mozzarella. Bake, uncovered, about 15 minutes, until noodles are tender. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Mushroom and Swiss Chard Lasagna (Weekly Recipe - April 10, 2007)

Friday, March 23, 2007

Whole Wheat Pizza Crust

1 Tbs. active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 Tbs. olive oil
11/2 tsp. salt
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 to 2 cups bread flour

1. Mix yeast with 1/2 cup warm water in a small bowl, and set aside until yeast begins to foam, for 5 to 10 minutes.

2. Add remaining water, olive oil and salt, and stir to combine. Using a portable or standing mixer, add flour by cupfuls until a sticky dough comes together. Knead by machine, or put dough on lightly floured work surface and knead by hand for 5 minutes, or until dough is smooth and elastic. Put dough in a bowl, cover with a clean towel and let rise in a warm place for 1 to 11/2 hours, or until doubled.

3. Punch dough down, and form into equal-sized balls for 2 large or 4 small pizzas. Spray pizza pans or baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray, or rub with olive oil. Let dough rest for 30 minutes, shape into pizza crusts and place in pans or on sheets. Makes 2 Large or 4 Small Crusts.

Vegetarian Times: Whole Wheat Pizza Crust 05/01/2004 p46

Skillet Pizza

When shopping for pesto, choose refrigerated tubs instead of cans or jars; they have the most flavor and the least sodium.

8 oz. chilled pizza dough (1/2 of 16-oz. pkg.)
2 tsp. olive oil
2 Tbs. plus 2 tsp. prepared refrigerator pesto
1/2 cup shredded low-moisutre part-skim mozzarella cheese
2 Tbs. low-fat ricotta cheese
1 large zucchini, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds

1. Set rack in lower third of oven and preheat oven to 500F.

2. Stretch dough into 10-inch round. Heat oil in 10-inch skillet over high heat. Cook dough round 3 minutes, or until brown and crisp on bottom. Turn dough over in skillet using 2 spatulas. Remove from heat.

3. Spread 2 Tbs. pesto over crust in skillet. Sprinkle with mozzarella. Top with dollops of ricotta, spaced well apart. Set zucchini rounds around ricotta.

4. Place skillet in oven; bake pizza 8 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly. Spoon remaining pesto over zucchini rounds, and sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper. Cut into 4 wedges, and serve. Serves 4.

Vegetarian Times: Skillet Pizza 05/01/2006 p42

Tortilla Personal Pizza

If you’re not a fan of feta, dollops of ricotta cheese or slices of fresh mozzarella make luscious substitutions.

1 whole wheat tortilla
1 Tbs. prepared pesto
1 large tomato, sliced
1/4 cup artichoke hearts in water, rinsed, drained and sliced
2 oz. low-sodium feta cheese
2 tsp. pine nuts
1/4 cup fresh basil, torn

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Spread pesto over tortilla. Top with tomato, artichokes, cheese and pine nuts.

2. Bake 12 minutes, or until tortilla is toasted around edges. Top with fresh basil and serve immediately.

Vegetarian Times: Tortilla Personal Pizza 05/01/2006 p69

Lentil-Walnut Spread

French bread slices go great with this flavorful spread. Alternatively, stuff it into a whole-wheat pita along with paper-thin slices of red onion and crisp romaine lettuce.

3/4 cup lentils, rinsed
1/4 cup walnut halves
1 Tbs. flaxseed oil or olive oil
1 small clove garlic, peeled
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup finely minced arugula, spinach or watercress leaves
3 Tbs. vegetable broth
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/8 tsp. ground coriander

In small saucepan, combine lentils and 1 1/2 cups water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until lentils are tender and water is absorbed, 35 to 40 minutes. Drain well. Transfer to small bowl.

In small food processor or blender, process walnuts and oil to smooth paste. With rubber spatula, scrape mixture into bowl with lentils. Mash to paste with fork.

On cutting board, cut garlic in half; sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. With flat side of knife, mash together. Add to lentil-walnut mixture along with arugula, broth, cumin, coriander and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Mix well. Cover and refrigerate up to 4 days. Makes 2 1/2 cups -- Dairy-free

Vegetarian Times: Lentil-Walnut Spread 01/01/2000 p43

Spicy Peanut Noodles

For milder noodles, start with 1 tsp. chile paste. If you want more spice, add a dab at a time, tasting as you go

8 oz. linguine
1/3 cup low-fat creamy peanut butter
2 Tbs. low-sodium soy sauce
1 1/2 Tbs. rice wine vinegar
1 to 2 tsp. chile paste with garlic
1/2 tsp. sugar
1 medium-size red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
3/4 cup chopped seeded cucumber
3 green onions, sliced diagonally into 1/4-inch pieces (about 1/4 cup)
2 Tbs. chopped cilantro
4 lime wedges, optional

1. Cook linguine according to package directions.

2. Meanwhile, combine peanut butter, 1?4 cup water, soy sauce, vinegar, chile paste and sugar in large bowl; whisk until blended. If sauce seems too thick, thin it with a little water; it should have the consistency of cream.

3. Add linguine, bell pepper, cucumber and green onions, and toss well. Sprinkle with cilantro. Serve with lime wedges, if desired.

30 minutes or fewer; Serves 6
Vegetarian Times: Spicy Peanut Noodles 04/01/2006 p42

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Bangkok Noodles

This noodle dish is a favorite in restaurants and in homes throughout all of Thailand. Our version is flavorful yet light and easy to prepare.

1/3 cup vegetable broth
1/4 cup coconut milk
2 Tbs. soy sauce
2 1/2 tsp. curry powder, or to taste
1/4 cup chopped scallions (white and light green parts)
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 tsp. vegetable oil
2 tsp. minced garlic
1 Tbs. minced fresh ginger
1 small hot green chile pepper, minced (seeding is optional)
4 oz. firm tofu, drained and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup mung bean sprouts
2 cups fresh spinach leaves
6 oz. rice vermicelli, soaked in warm water for 20 minutes and drained

1. In small bowl, mix broth, coconut milk, soy sauce, curry powder, scallions and black pepper. Set aside.

2. In large wok or skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Stir-fry garlic, ginger, and chile until fragrant, about 10 seconds. Add tofu, and stir-fry 1 minute. Stir in soy sauce mixture, and bring to a simmer. Add 1/2 cup bean sprouts, spinach and noodles, and stir-fry, about 30 seconds.

3. Add remaining bean sprouts, but do not mix into noodles.

Bangkok Noodles (Recipe of the day - March 20, 2007)

Pasta Primavera with Breadcrumb Topping

Hand-twisted noodles called pinci (also known as pici) are a Tuscan delicacy. Luckily for time-pressed cooks, curly pasta noodles work too.

8 oz. fusilli or rotini pasta
3 Tbs. olive oil
1⁄2 lb. green beans, trimmed
1⁄2 large yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1⁄2 tsp. crushed red pepper
3 medium-sized zucchini (about 1⁄2 lb.
total), trimmed and julienned
2 large red bell peppers, julienned
1⁄4 cup finely chopped basil
1 tsp. chopped fresh oregano
1 cup plain dry breadcrumbs
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Extra virgin olive oil

1. Cook pasta according to package directions.

2. Meanwhile, bring large pot of salted water to boil; add green beans and parboil 3 minutes. Transfer beans to colander and rinse under cold running water to stop cooking.

3. Heat 2 Tbs. oil in very large skillet over medium heat. Add green beans, onion, garlic and crushed red pepper, and cook, covered, 3 minutes. Add zucchini, peppers, basil and oregano, and cook, uncovered, 5 minutes, or until vegetables are just al dente; do not overcook. Season with salt to taste.

4. Warm remaining 1 Tbs. oil in second skillet over medium heat. Add breadcrumbs and sauté until golden, about 5 minutes.

5. Add drained pasta to vegetables and toss to blend; sprinkle with breadcrumbs, cheese and olive oil, and serve (Serves 6).

Pasta Primavera with Breadcrumb Topping

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Vegetable Soup


Acquacotta means “cooked water,” but that doesn’t begin to describe how delicious this soup is! It also freezes beautifully, so double the recipe if you like. Adding a Parmesan cheese rind to the soup while it’s cooking is a clever Italian method for deepening flavors.

1 lb. Swiss chard or kale 4 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
1⁄2 tsp. salt, or to taste
1⁄2 tsp. crushed red pepper, or more to taste
2 Tbs. tomato paste
1 cup tomato purée
2-inch Parmesan rind
6 1-inch-thick slices Italian bread
Grated Parmesan cheese for garnish

Rinse chard in several changes of water until completely free of grit. Drain, stack leaves on cutting board and finely chop.

Heat olive oil in large pot over medium heat. Add onion, carrots and celery, and cook, stirring often, about 10 minutes, or until softened. Stir in salt, crushed red pepper and tomato paste; cook 2 minutes.

Reduce heat to medium-low, add 8 cups water, tomato purée, Parmesan rind and chopped greens. Cook, partially covered, 45 minutes, or until very thick, stirring occasionally; add more water if needed. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove rind.

To serve, place slice of bread in bottom of each bowl. Fill with soup, sprinkle with cheese, drizzle with oil and serve.

Recipe from the Mar. '06 issue of Vegetarian Times.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Rice-Stuffed Tomatoes

Pomodori Imbottiti di Riso (Makes 6 servings)

Description: [...] In addition to stirring the fresh basil into the filling, shred as much as you like and scatter it over the tomatoes after you put them on a plate...

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 bay leaves
½ cup arborio rice
6 medium tomatoes (about 2 ½ pounds), ripe but firm
1/2 cup diced mozzarella, preferably fresh, or provola cheese
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
Salt and pepper to taste

In a 1-quart saucepan, heat 1 1/2 cups salted water, 2 tablespoons of the oil and the bay leaves to a boil. Stir in the rice and bring to a boil. Adjust the heat to a lively simmer and cook the rice, unovered, until al dente, tender but firm, about 12 minutes. Most of the liquid should be absorbed and the texture of the rice is creamy. Drain any excess liquid from the rice and transfer the rice to a mixing bowl.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375˚ F. Cut a 1/2-inch slice from the top of each tomato and set aside. Scoop out the pulp and seeds with a teaspoon and drop into a strainer set over a bowl. Press on the pulp in the strainer to squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Reserve the liquid and discard the pulp in the strainer.

Toss the rice, mozzarella, 1/2 cup of the Parmigiano-Reggiano and the basil together in a small bowl. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Gently stuff the tomatoes with the rice mixture, dividing it evenly. Top each tomato with the reserved slices. Using some of the remaining oil, brush a baking dish into which the tomatoes fit comfortably. Set the stuffed tomatoes in the dish. Add the strained liquid from tomatoes and, if necessary, pour in enough water to come about ¼ inch up the sides of the tomatoes. Drizzle the remaining oil over the tomatoes and sprinkle them with the remaining 1 tablespoon grated cheese. Cover the dish loosely with aluminum foil and bake 15 minutes.

Uncover the dish and bake until the tomatoes are very tender and the tops are lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Remove tomatoes from oven and let rest for a few minutes. Carefully transfer the tomatoes to a serving platter, or individual plates. Swirl the juices in the pan to incorporate the oil into the juices and spoon the pan juices over and around the tomatoes. The tomatoes are best when served warm, with some of the pan juices drizzled over each serving.

Rice-Stuffed Tomatoes

Tomato Sauce

Salsa di Pomodoro (Makes about 3 ½ cups, enough to dress 6 servings of pasta)

3 pounds ripe fresh plum tomatoes, peeled and seeded or one 35 ounce can of peeled Italian tomatoes, seeded and lightly crushed, with their liquid
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped (about 1/3 cup)
1/4 cup finely shredded peeled carrots
1/4 cup finely chopped celery (including leaves)
4 fresh bay leaves or 2 dried bay leaves
Crushed red pepper

Directions: Pass the tomatoes through a food mill fitted with the fine disc. Heat the oil in a 2 to 3-quart non-reactive saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted, about 3 minutes. Add the carrots and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 10 minutes.

Add the food-milled tomatoes and bay leaves and bring to a boil. Season lightly with salt and crushed red pepper. Bring to a boil, lower the heat so the sauce is at a lively simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 45 minutes. Remove the bay leaves. Taste and season with salt and red pepper if necessary.

Tomato Sauce

Classic Pesto

1 pinch coarse sea salt
60 small or 30 large fresh basil leaves, dried
2 cloves garlic, peeled
3 tablespoons pignoli, lightly toasted
2 tablespoons Pecorino Romano, fresh, finely grated
2 tablespoons Parmigiano-Reggiano, fresh, finely grated
3 - 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Directions: In a mortar:
Start with salt and few leaves of basil. Crush with a pestle, keep adding leaves a few at a time, then add garlic and pound until the mixture becomes a paste. Add pignoli and work into a paste, then add cheese and slowly pour the olive oil. Work all into a creamy consistency.

In a blender:
Add basil, salt and garlic. Work into a paste, add pignoli and slowly pour half of the olive oil. Add cheese and the remaining olive oil. Blend until it becomes a homogenous, creamy paste.

To make the sauce, pass the tomatoes through a food mill fitted with the fine disc. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large nonreactive skillet over medium heat. Whack the garlic cloves with the side of a knife and add them to the pan. Cook, shaking the pan, until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Pour in the tomatoes, stir in the crushed red pepper and bring to a boil. Adjust the heat to simmering and cook until lightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Pour in the clam juice and cook an additional 15 minutes.

While the sauce is cooking, bring 6 quarts of salted water to a boil in an 8-quart pot over high heat.

Slip the agnolotti into the boiling water a few at a time, stirring gently as you add them. Return to a boil, stirring frequently. Cook the pasta, semi-covered, stirring occasionally, until the edges are tender, about 4 minutes after the water returns to a boil.

If the skillet is large enough to accommodate the sauce and agnolotti, fish the agnolotti out of the boiling water with a large wire skimmer and add them directly to the sauce in the skillet. If not, drain the agnolotti gently and return them to the pot. Pour in the sauce and bring to a boil, stirring gently to coat the agnolotti with sauce. Drizzle the remaining 5 tablespoons olive oil over the pasta and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons chopped parsley. Check the seasoning, adding salt if necessary and serve immediately.

Classic Pesto

Fennel Spinach Soup

Minestra di Finocchio e spinaci.

Ingredients: 4 cloves garlic, chopped fine
2 large Idaho potatoes, peeled and dice
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 large diced carrots, shredded
5 fresh bay leaves
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
pinch of red pepper
1 pound fennel, diced fine ( leave the green part )
10 ounces corn kernels, frozen if needed
2 pounds spinach, shredded
10 ounces fresh peas, or frozen
2 tablespoons fresh basil or marjoram, chopped

Directions: In a large pot, lightly sauté the garlic and potatoes in the olive oil until golden, add the carrots and sauté 10 minutes longer. Add 6 quarts of boiling water, bay leaves and bring to boil. Add salt, freshly grounded pepper and red pepper and boil for 30 minutes. Add fennel, corn and cook an additional 15 minutes. Then add spinach, peas, and herbs and simmer for another 30 minutes.

Fennel Spinach Soup

Ziti with Basil and Mozzarella

Ziti alla Caprese

1 cup Basil leaves – shredded
4 cups Lidia’s Flavors of Italy Tomato and Basil Sauce
1 lb. Ziti
1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
1 lb. Bocconcini Mozzarella di Bufala – cut in half
(If using regular mozzarella, cut in 1” cubes

In a skillet bring Lidia’s Flavors of Italy Tomato and Basil Sauce to a boil.

While the sauce is heating, cook the ziti in 5 quarts of salted boiling water until al dente (tender but still firm), about 8 minutes. Drain the pasta and toss with the sauce. Stir in the basil, mozzarella and grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, toss well, and serve immediately.

Ziti with Basil and Mozzarella

White Bean Garlicky Soup

Ingredients: FOR THE BEANS
1 pound (about 2-1/2 cups) dry cannellini or other small dried white beans, soaked overnight or quick-soaked
4 quarts cold water plus more if needed
3 bay leaves
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1-1/2 teaspoons salt plus more if needed

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 big cloves garlic, sliced (about 1/3 cup)
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon peperoncino flakes

Drain the soaked beans and put them in the pot with the water, bay leaves, and olive oil. Cover the pot and bring it to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally. When the water is at a full boil, set the cover ajar, adjust the heat to maintain a steady gentle boiling and cook for an hour more, until the beans are tender.

Stir in the salt, uncover and continue cooking at a bubbling boil for another hour or more, until the beans and broth have reduced to 3-quarts. Lower the heat as the liquid evaporates and the soup base thickens, stirring now and then to prevent scorching.

When the soup base is sufficiently reduced, make the soffritto. Heat the olive oil and the sliced garlic in a skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes or so, shaking the pan now and then, until the slices are sizzling. Drop in the peperoncino, stir with the garlic and cook another minute or until the garlic is just starting to color.

From the soup pot, ladle out a cup of the simmering bean broth and pour it into the skillet. Let it sizzle and start to boil, shake and stir up the soffritto, and cook it for a couple of minutes in the broth. Then pour it all back into the bean pot, scraping in every bit of the soffritto or just rinse the skillet out with more broth. Simmer the soup base for another 5 minutes, with the soffritto, then remove from the heat.

The base is ready for a finished soup now or let the whole pot cool; pick out the bay leaves and discard. Keep the soup refrigerated for 3 or 4 days or freeze, in filled and tightly sealed containers, for 4 to 6 months.

[Tip Box]
Best bean types: Imported cannellini beans from Tuscany, in particular the Sorana (hard to find variety) variety, are the ones to use for white bean soups and any dishes with cannellini. If you can’t find them , substitute any of the small white bean varieties, such as Great Northern, pea beans, or navy beans.

The borlotti bean is the Italian red kidney bean and one of my preferred varieties for the hearty bean and potato soup base. A close relative is our cranberry bean, a smallish bean with mottled pink skin—is a good substitute for the borlotti.

Long Soaking Beans: An overnight soak is the easiest way to rehydrate dried beans before cooking: first pick out any bits of dirt or stones from the beans, then rinse them. Put the beans in a large bowl or pot with cold water covering them by 4-inches or more. Most beans are sufficiently soaked in 8 hours; old beans (from the back of the cupboard, perhaps) take longer. Soak them up to 24 hours until plump and not wrinkled. Skim off any floating particles, then drain well before cooking—don’t cook beans in the soaking water.

Quick soaking beans: If you don’t have time for long soaking, put the rinsed beans in a large pot with hot water to cover by several inches and set over high heat. When boiling, cook for 1 minute; remove from the heat and let the beans sit in the water (uncovered) for 1 hour. Drain and proceed to cook the beans.

White Bean Garlicky Soup

Tuscan Style Tomato and Bread Soup

Pappa al Pomodoro (Servings: 8)

Five ½ inch thick slices Italian bread with crusts removed, approximately 3 cups
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus another 3 tablespoons for drizzling
1 cup finely sliced summer onions
1/2 cup shredded carrots
4 garlic cloves, crushed
2 pounds ripe plum tomatoes, cubed
4 cups water
Salt and freshly ground pepper
10 basil leaves
1 cup Parmigiano Reggiano.

Directions: Remove all crusts from the bread and soak the white part of the bread in a large bowl of water for approximately 5 minutes. Squeeze the bread with your hands until all of the water drains out.

In a 4-5 quart pot, heat the three tablespoons of olive oil over medium meat. Add the onions, carrots and garlic and cook together until golden, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and their juices to the pot and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Then add the 4 cups of water and cook for approximately ½ hour. Then add the bread. Season lightly with salt and pepper, add the basil leaves and then adjust the level to heat so that the soup simmers. You should cook the soup for another ½ hour, whisking occasionally to break up the pieces of bread until the soup becomes dense.

Salt and pepper to taste, serve in warm bowls, drizzled with the remaining 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and the Parmigiano Reggiano.

Tuscan Style Tomato and Bread Soup -- Recipe by Fortunato Nicotra, Executive Chef of Felidia Ristorante, NYC